Living in California: 6 Months

6 Months in California dance
6 Months living in California- woohoo!

It’s hard to believe I’ve been living in California for 6 months (or I will have on 23rd December). It must have been one of the fastest 6 months of my life. On the one hand, I feel like I did nothing but alternate laying out at the beach and lying on my sofa eating peanut butter m and ms (or anything else peanut butter.. there is so much peanut butter stuff here!). On the other hand, I have completed two online classes, road tripped up and down the state, flown cross country to a blogger conference, hiked in one of the most stunning places in Southern California, completed some freelance writing work and drank my weight in pumpkin flavoured drinks.

Until  we moved here I was a Primary School teacher (first in the UK then at an International School in Beijing), a career I may well still go back to in the future (though they call it Elementary School over here of course). I’m so used to tracking time with term dates, school events, paper work and reports, it’s been weird adapting to a new lifestyle that doesn’t have all these markers. As a reminder to myself that I have done quite a lot these last few months (and because I didn’t manage more than one monthly roundup– oops!), here are six things I did in six months of living In California .

Big Sur Sunset
Pretty light in Big Sur.

Road Trips

We road tripped down to San Diego shortly after we moved here. I loved stopping at all the beach towns along the way and absolutely want to move to Encinitas, a town in San Diego that was recommended to me by my blog pal Justine.

We also had an amazing road trip up to San Francisco with Tamsin and Guido. That part of the state is so gorgeous and I wrote an itinerary and several posts about it. See here and here.

Santa Barbara Courthouse Tower
Santa Barbara Courthouse- I look sooo blonde here! I’ve since gone “bRonde”.

Santa Barbara

The first time we stopped in Santa Barbara was on our road trip. Justin, Tamsin, Guido and I drove around wine country sampling delicious local wine and even stopping at one of the locations from the Sideways film. Justin and I then went back in October to see a Sufjan Stevens concert. We spent the whole day in Santa Barbara and saw some of the sights like the old Mission, the tower at the court house and, this time, we did some of the Urban Wine Trail (no driving required). It’s such a pretty town, I can definitely foresee more visits there in the future.

Hiking at Big Bear Pine Knott
Hiking at Big Bear

Enjoyed The Outdoor Life

I really made the most of living one minute walk from the beach this summer (and most of Autumn too- it took a long time to cool off this year). I went there all the time to read, walk, jog on the boardwalk and work on my tan (with plenty of suncream of course). We didn’t just go to the beach near our house though, we also spent time in Laguna exploring some of the many coves there. We’ve also done some great hikes over the last few months- locally at Crystal Cove, and out at Big Bear and Joshua Tree. And finally, I have loved being able to paddle board on the harbour right across the street from my house. I would love to get my own paddle board, but they are pretty expensive (hello Father Christmas- or Santa as you have to say here or no one knows what on earth you’re talking about- can I have a crazy expensive paddle board please?). I guess I’ll stick to renting until I win the lottery!

Windswept in Joshua Treet
So windswept right now…! This is Joshua Tree.. nothing to do with TBEX as i have hardly any photos from there!

TBEX North America

In October, I went to my first blogging conference. I have to say, it was so much fun! I met so many lovely bloggers as well as other people in the travel industry. I also went on a really great craft brewery tour with the Brew Bus. Although it cost to fly across country to attend, I ended up getting a cheap deal at a hotel and had all the food and drink I needed provided at the conference. I’ve been so busy recently that I’m yet to capitalize on any of the things I learned, or contacts I made, at the conference- but at least I had fun meeting everyone!

Cycling up Newport Beach Boardwalk
Cycling up Newport Beach Boardwalk..definitely not working here.

Studied and Freelanced

It was so much fun studying again. I love learning and getting to study writing again was a dream. You may or may not know that I studied English with Media & Cultural Studies at University (before I later went back to get my Post Graduate Certificate in Education). I think I only ended up taking one or two writing modules there in favour of studying things like Victorian women’s poetry and Cold War literature, but I loved it. My love of writing and reading grew way before that though- I used to spend hours in my room writing my diary, short stories and making little newspapers. While I love writing my blog, it was great to get more practise at writing in a professional and serious manner (something that is a bit different to my little blog!). I also ended up doing some great freelance projects over the last few months and am looking forward to doing more in the future. Maybe I’ll even write a book…maybe. On the other hand, I realise one of my great skills as a Primary School teacher was being able to work on a million different things at once with all kinds of distractions. Having to concentrate on one thing for a long period of time is kind of weird for me!

Giants Stadium San Francisco
This was at the Giants’ Stadium in SF- that’s why I have so many clothes layers on ha!

Became a Baseball Fan

I’ve never been that interested in watching sport before (or should that be sportS?). Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE watching the Olympics (the 2012 Olympics in London was probably one of the highlights of my life!), Wimbledon (of course- they revoke your British citizenship if you don’t watch it) and I’m super happy that my home football (that’s soccer to some of you!) team Leicester City are doing really well this year, but I’ve never really followed a full season of anything. This year I became absolutely obsessed with the Dodgers. If I wasn’t at one of the games in the stadium, I was watching them on tv nearly every day! I’m even planning on doing fantasy baseball next year, although Justin tells me I’m not allowed to just pick the whole Dodgers team for my fantasy team. We’ll see about that…

Pin It For Later!

6 months in CA

So there we go- 6 months living in California! What have you been up to over the last 6 months? Feel free to share a story in the comments below 🙂

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24 thoughts on “Living in California: 6 Months

  1. I love reading your impressions of America! I haven’t lived there is so long now, some things (like baseball) feel kind of foreign now! But I do still love peanut butter chocolate anything 😉 I’ll have to check out your road trip posts. In Feb we are hiring a campervan out of Vegas and doing a 3 week loop and I’m pretty sure we will include southern Cal. Maybe we can say hello over a vino or two?!

  2. California is fantastic if you can avoid the traffic of our crowded cities. Los Angeles area is worst but other than that it is a paradise of beaches, deserts, mountains and good jobs.
    We would all like to live in Encinitas so good luck with that but at least there is great weather anywhere you settle in our state.
    Welcome aboard and I hope you stay.

    1. Haha I was really surprised how expensive Encinitas was when I looked up apartments there. I think it’s more expensive to rent there than anywhere else. Maybe one day.. I agree- there is so much to explore here and so much lovely nature. It’s a nice change from Beijing! I’ve got my permanent residency here now so we’re in it for the long haul. 🙂

  3. Has it been 6 months already? Oh dear, it really is going fast. I moved to Denmark in the beginning of October for 5 months, and I can’t believe that it has already been 2 and a half months!
    It looks and sound like you’ve had a brilliant time in California. Wish I could go and live there for a while! 🙂

  4. I miss living on the West Coast – Chicago is great, but there aren’t a lot of great options for weekend trips without a 6-8 hour drive. I love seeing people taking advantage of their surroundings, and I get to follow vicariously for now 🙂

    1. I agree- there are so many places to visit for a day trip around here. I really love that. That was something I didn’t like about Beijing. There was plenty to do within Beijing but there weren’t many places close enough to go for a day or two at weekends.

    1. We didn’t go to either of those places but we definitely will next time- hoping to drive down and do some more exploring sometime over Christmas. San Diego is such a great place. I think I prefer it to LA. If only Encinitas wasn’t so expensive- all the apartments I have seen there are more expensive than Newport Beach! Though we do live in a really tiny, old place in Newport.

  5. Nooooo!

    How can you impress me so much on one hand (with your football knowledge, even though I support the Toon), but then shatter me on the other hand (I’m a hardcore Giants fan)… the Dodgers… really!?

    Oh well, something else for us to banter about (do I blame the hubby?)

    1. Haha.. yes, really! I did watch a Giants game at their stadium in SF though- which was fun. Yes it is Justin’s fault- you can blame him haha! The Angels are actually slightly closer to where we live but somehow he got me into the Dodgers! Your comments had gone to spam for some reason- that has been happening a lot lately for some reason, so I check it every few days to rescue the one that aren’t actual spam ha! 🙂

  6. Ooooh, California, my happy place. 🙂 And getting to road trip through there? *gushes*

    Those 6 months sure have gone fast. I feel like I only just read you saying you were moving there.

  7. It sounds like you’ve been taking full advantage of the beautiful place we live. The beaches and hiking areas right outside are doorsteps are just incredible.
    But wow! You have done so much in just six months. By the looks and sounds of it, you’re loving California life!

  8. SO funny- I’m about to reach my 6 month mark Jan 30th as well! My move wasn’t quite as far (New Orleans) but I’ve got to say I think California is a dream come true haha. Can’t believe I live in San Diego and haven’t been to Encinitas! Thanks for sharing.

  9. After reading this, I realise I haven’t caught up on YOUR blog in absolutely ages. Wow, California living sounds amazing! How long are you guys staying out there?

  10. Looks like you’ve been busy since moving to California! I’m visiting the States for the second time next month, AND I’m rather excited to see my first Baseball game, although personally, football will always be my favourite.

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